The militants, under field commanders such as Shamil Basayev, are largely confined to mountain retreats in the south of the country, where they are still regularly bombarded by Russian forces.
But it appears Moscow is still vulnerable to suicide bombers, now an established part of the rebel armoury.
Thousands of Russian forces remain in Chechnya
BBC News Online's Russia analyst Stephen Mulvey says suicide has been part of the rhetoric of the Chechen war from its inception in 1994, although the rebels did not really start employing it as a tactic until 2000.
Before that Chechen forces took steps that were risky enough to verge on the suicidal, but they nonetheless also took all possible measures to survive.
But now suicide bombers, whether born out of desperation or a new spirit of radical Islam, are part of the Chechen rebels' arsenal.
In the past Commander Basayev, has been quoted as saying that the "Islamic peacekeeping army" in Chechnya contains two battalions of suicide troops, numbering 500 people in total, and that more were set to join.
There are still 65,000 Chechen refugees in Ingushetia
Many Russian analysts have interpreted the switch to suicide attacks as a sign of Chechen desperation - a signal that their resistance is running out of steam.
However, others argue that resistance is far from waning.
Islam has become a major factor in this the second Chechen war, with a much more fundamentalist form, under which martyrdom is glorified, on the rise among some of the combatants.
Statistics show just how badly the war has affected both the lives of both Chechens and Russians:
- The official figure for the number of Russian soldiers who have died in Chechnya since 1999 is 4,705, though the organisation Soldiers' Mothers of Russia puts the figure at 11,000.
Their estimate for the first Chechen war, which lasted from 1994 -1996 is 14,000 dead, compared with the official 5,500. Civilian deaths in this war are numbered in the tens of thousands.
More than 60,000 Chechen refugees remain in neighbouring Ingushetia.
- More than 250 people have gone missing in Chechnya this year, according to a member of the pro-Moscow government.